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What is Peroneal Tendinitis?

By Alex Terris
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Peroneal tendinitis is a condition that affects tendons in the ankle. Symptoms of peroneal tendinitis are either chronic or acute, depending on how they first occur. Chronic tendinitis symptoms occur over an extended period of time and are often caused by repetitive use. Acute symptoms occur suddenly. These symptoms may involve pain, swelling and in acute cases a weakness in the ankle.

The peroneal tendons are two tendons that run down the outer side of the ankle bone. One of these tendons attaches at the middle of the foot while the other runs underneath the foot. Both the peroneal tendons are used to stabilize the ankle and foot and are essential for any tasks that involve walking or running. For this reason, peroneal tendinitis can often be a difficult condition to cure as the tendons are constantly put under stress.

Peroneal tendinitis occurs when either one or both of the tendons becomes inflamed. In the majority of cases, this is caused by repetitive motion such as during certain sports. An ankle sprain may also put the tendons under sudden stress, which can cause tendinitis. The main symptoms of peroneal tendinitis are pain and swelling. Chronic peroneal tendinitis may be painful but without the swelling, however.

Diagnosis of peroneal tendinitis is important because the condition is often misdiagnosed and incorrectly treated. A surgeon or doctor should look at the type of pain, warmth and stability of the ankle in order to correctly diagnose the problem. In some cases, scans may be required in order to rule out other potential causes.

Treatment for peroneal tendinitis may require surgery, but in the majority of cases, conservative methods will solve the problem. To start with physical therapy including stretches, ice and rest will be used in order to control the pain and to improve the joint’s health. Immobilization of the ankle joint may be required in order to allow the tendons time to heal without being re-injured. Anti-inflammation drugs are also commonly used to control the swelling and decrease overall recovery time.

Over time, tendinitis may turn into tendonosis — a degeneration of the tendon. When a tendon becomes damaged in this way, it can be difficult for it to heal as tendons have a reduced blood supply compared to muscles. Symptoms of peroneal tendonosis include pain on the outside of the ankle and a high foot arch.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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